Benjamin Sean Lees
Offerfair Business Park,
Open Call - for creatives worldwide
In the early 1900s the Western view of the tropics ranged from apprehension to verging on fetishism. European views of these regions were either of paradise –– a ‘Garden of Eden,’ rich with biodiversity –– or alternatively, as a threat to civilised cultures; a wild, untameable, unconquerable nature. Over time these contrasting and often problematic views have slowly evolved, but progress has often felt too slow. Into the 21st century, tropicalities continue to be represented in popular discourse in essentializing and contradictory terms –– as luxury, retreat, escape, untamed, wild, extreme, impoverished, vulnerable, miserable. This reduction is a means by which the tropics are allowed to be exploited and disproportionately affected by climate change perpetrated by the Global North. As society moves forward in the context of anthropogenic climate change and the destruction of our natural environment, the tropics often bear the brunt of destruction through coral bleaching, stronger tropical storms, and by other means. Moving forwards, we must look to these habitats for guidance, understanding that they are neither indestructible nor tameable and ultimately need our care, respect and attention.
‘Tropicalities’ is a collaborative, interdisciplinary project connecting environmental scientists with creatives across the fields of visual art, sound art, sculpture, written word and performance. The aim of the project is to open our eyes a little wider to the consequences and pressures our modern world has put upon the tropics, to inspire and push for change. By collaborating and merging sectors,we hope to suggest a different reality than either historical discourse, pure science or artistic fantasy can describe. Through collaboration, we want to encourage an audience to engage with and question tropical stereotypes and modern issues.
‘Tropicalities’ will begin with a series of online discussion pods, working towards the development of a digital exhibition over a period of 3 months (ending 1st February). The option to adapt your work for a physical exhibition will follow, although the schedule will be dependent on coronavirus circumstances. Each discussion pod will have at least one scientist and two creatives, from which a bi-directional creative outcome will develop. The scientists’ research areas include tropical coral reefs, tropical oceanography, meteorology, paleoclimatology and geology. We expect creative responses to the science and theme to be as abstract or as direct as desired.
To apply, please send us an email with the following information no later than Midnight, 18th October (GMT+1):
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name in the subject header and:
A website link or examples of your current and past work
A short proposal giving us an idea of your working medium and a loose idea of how you may approach this project
Nb: you will need to commit, on acceptance, to several online discussions with your pod.